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Inaugural International Day for Women in Maritime

May 18th celebrated the inaugural International Day for Women in Maritime. In light of this historical occurrence, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Mission to the International Maritime Organization celebrated the valuable contribution of women to the maritime industry through numerous events and celebrations.

As an advocate of female empowerment in the maritime industry, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative, Eng. Essam Alammari was the first male representative to join the IMOGENder Network, a networking group established as a forum for IMO representatives to coordinate and exchange ideas and best practices aimed at achieving gender equality and equity. As part of the celebration of Women in Maritime Day, the Mission hosted a Saudi female engineer of Bahri Group Eng. Reem Alkhowaiter, who engaged in a number of events organised by the KSA mission.

This commenced with the visit of the delegation to His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Saud at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Saudi Royal Embassy. In the meeting, the delegation discussed Saudi efforts and achievements of working towards gender equality including significant strides under the leadership of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam and Vision 2030 where women currently make up 22% of the Saudi workforce and the objective of increasing this figure to 30% by 2030.

On Tuesday, May 17th The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supported Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA) and IMOGENDer Network with the support of The United Arab Emirates to host the first ever virtual roundtable in honour of International Women in Maritime Day with a focus on the MENA region, “Women in Maritime: Preserving a Legacy of Resilience Towards Achieving a Barrier-Free Working Environment.’ This event brought together a panel of 21 esteemed professionals from diverse areas of the maritime industry such as: government, finance, shipping, on and offshore activities, and education. The roundtable aimed to address the issues facing women in the industry and ask the esteemed professions to utilize their experience and perspective to provide productive solutions and recommendations going forward. The Kingdom was represented by Eng. Essam Alammari, Permanent Representative to the IMO, Dr. Omaimah Omar Bamasag, Deputy of Transport Enablement at the Transport General Authority (TGA), and Eng. Reem Alkhowaiter of Bahri. Some of the discussions included, ‘What qualities do women bring to crisis and recovery, how can the sector work to achieve a more diverse representation of maritime careers, and what steps can women take to build their networks both locally and across the wider region.” Roundtables like this will be replicated in the future to continue working towards addressing issues females face in the maritime industry.

An official visit including a joint delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates met with the Secretary General of the IMO on the 18th May to discuss awareness raising in the maritime world, initiatives in the Middle East and efforts that can be achieved to highlight jobs within maritime for females, and courses that will help with attainment of these opportunities.

The IMO hosted the first Virtual Symposium in honour of Women in Maritime day that was titled ‘Training- Visibility- Recognition: Supporting a Barrier-Free Working Environment for Women in Maritime.’ The symposium had three panels focusing on Training, Visibility, and Recognition. Eng. Essam Alammari participated as one of two male panellists for the symposium addressing the issue of enhancing visibility for women in the workplace/environment,’ alongside Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiu, President of WISTA, Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore. Eng. Essam Alammari encouraged governments around the world to work to implement strategies for higher level courses for women, and hold enrolment events with female leaders in maritime, visibility is an important part of the process. Secretary General Kittack Lim presented the keynote address, and discussed how, “this day marks the annual opportunity to take stock and identify areas where improvement is needed on a sector-wide scale and within our individual organisations.”

The celebrations concluded with a reception at IMO HQ s. Secretary General, Kittack Lim addressed the group and highlighted the efforts and initiatives of Missions to celebrate International Women in Maritime Day which included the KSA mission.

Eng. Alkowaiter reflected on her time in London as, “a great experience to be a speaker in the event with 20 other powerful voices from the industry in virtual round table at women in maritime: preserving a elegancy of resilience toward achieving a barrier-Free working environment in celebrating of international day of women in maritime…Finally, I would like to thank The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia permanent mission to the IMO, IMO, AWIMA, MOEIUAE, IMOGender Network for organising the amazing event.”

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